Pierre-Marie Delpu


Marcel Bataillon Junior

Aix-Marseille University

Martyrs of the Revolution. Politics and religion in nineteenth-century southern Europe

Pierre-Marie Delpu holds an agrégation and a Ph.D. in history, specialising in 19th-century Southern European revolutions. His research focuses on the forms and practices of liberal politicisation, paying attention to revolutionary episodes and more fluid conjunctures and being particularly interested in the participation of ordinary people in political life. After having devoted my doctoral thesis to the construction of the liberal movement in the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies on the eve of Italian unification, he is now focusing on political martyrdom in 19th-century South European societies. During his post-doctorate at Casa de Velázquez in 2020-2021, he has begun to open his work to Spain in the central decades of the 19th century, in a perspective of comparison with the Italian states of the same period. He seeks to understand the phenomenon of political martyrdom in a broad, transnational and interdisciplinary way, in order to resituate it within the transfers from the religious to the political that structured the societies of southern Europe in the early years of the contemporary period.

Projet de recherche

In the continuity of numerous works in social sciences related to contemporary political religions, his research  project aims to study the processes of dialogue between religion and politics in the 19th century, marked both by the spread of revolutions and by the secularisation of Western societies. The study will be focused on the figure of the martyr, borrowed from the religious universe for its pedagogical function and transposed into the political arena. Focusing on South European societies, particularly Spanish and Italian, and on the middle decades of the 19th century, he would like to analyse the emergence of the figure of the martyr as a revolutionary ideal-type, studying the discourses and the practices of politicisation. Focusing first on the published written production (a rich corpus of martyrologes, funeral orations, chronicles, and publications of immediate history produced by contemporaries), and comparing them with the occasional archival analysis, his project aims to understand the deployment of the cults of revolutionary martyrs in order to place them in the emotional, confessional and ideological regimes of the century of revolutions.

Sélection de publications

2021. L’affaire Poerio (1850-1860). La fabrique d’un martyr révolutionnaire européen, Paris, CNRS Éditions.


2021. « Martyrologes et panthéons politiques. Écrire et commémorer les victimes de la révolution de 1848 (États italiens, Espagne, principautés roumaines », Amnis. Revue d’étude des sociétés et des cultures contemporaines Europe-Amériques, 20.


2020. « Exporting the Cult of Martyrs to the Lands of Exile: The comunities of banished Italians in France and Piedmont-Sardinia in the early 1850s », in Catherine Brice (ed.), Exile and the Circulation of Political Practices, Newcastle upon Tyne, Cambridge Scholars, pp. 178-194.

2019. Un autre Risorgimento. La formation du monde libéral dans le Royaume des Deux-Siciles (1815-1856), Rome, École française de Rome.


2017. « Une religion politique. Les usages des martyrs révolutionnaires dans le royaume des Deux-Siciles (années 1820-années 1850) », Revue d’histoire moderne et contemporaine, n. 64/1, pp. 7- 31.



29/05/2018 - 39min 28s - Français